Vietnam Adventure Tour – Locals’ Special

Country: Vietnam

14 Days | $4,110

Our U.S. office is based in California, near beautiful Lake Tahoe, and one thing that we love about our hometown is that the locals here are adventurous, outdoors-oriented and compassionate. We wanted to share the wonders of Southeast Asia with our friends and neighbors because we feel that the Tahoe crowd will truly appreciate both the natural beauty and the incredible people of this region, and of course, a great adventure.

We think that Vietnam makes a wonderful destination for those imbued with wanderlust, as it is home to fascinating culture, rich history and astounding natural wonders. With this tour, you will begin in southern Vietnam and will work your way up to the capital of Hanoi in the North. This tour will take you through the villages and waterways of the Mekong Delta, trekking through the magnificent Hang En Cave, cycling through the outskirts of Hanoi and will finish in beautiful Halong Bay.

Day 1 Saigon: Arrival

Arrive on your flight in Saigon where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Meals Included: None

Overnight at Majestic Saigon Hotel – 1 Double Colonial River Deluxe Room

Day 2 Saigon: Culture and Culinary Experience by Motorbike

Saigon is a vibrant and bustling city. Relax as you sit behind your trusted driver on a motorbike for a journey where you can combine some of the classic historical highlights the city has to offer (Reunification Palace, museums, pagodas, Cho Lon, etc.), getting a real insight into local life behind the main streets. Meet and chat with local people, try special local cuisine at the different locations you stop by and learn about daily life. Get to know Saigon with a refreshing twist to suit your culinary and cultural tastes. Our guides are the experts, and they will discuss the plan for the time with you in advance so that you get the very best experience designed just for you. Please note helmets will be provided.

Your guide and driver will transfer you to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Mai. The stories of Vietnamese history and culture can be heard and understood through its traditional music. Mr. Truc and Mrs. Ngo (husband and wife) are experts at playing the melodious traditional Vietnamese musical instruments (monochord zither, bamboo xylophone, stone lithophone and more) and have been granted special permission to share their knowledge with guests in Vietnam. For an hour you will be taken on a journey back in time. Hear the instruments played and learn about the stories they tell, then you will have a chance to have a go at playing some of the instruments yourself. At the end of your time with these wonderful people you will have had a unique personal insight in to Vietnam.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Majestic Saigon Hotel – 1 Double Colonial River Deluxe Room

Day 3 Saigon: Morning at Leisure, Afternoon at the Cu Chi Tunnels and Dinner with Vietnamese Veteran

Enjoy your morning at leisure.

This afternoon take an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels (about a 90 minute drive). Here you will learn about, and be given the opportunity to descend into, the tunnels themselves where the guerilla fighters constructed an amazing underground base and village network during the French Resistance, and the Vietnam War. Finally, to end your trip, you will be taken to the private home of a war veteran of the Vietnamese American war. Here you will have the opportunity to meet and chat with him and their family whilst enjoying a delicious home cooked dinner before heading back to Saigon ready for your evening at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Majestic Saigon Hotel – 1 Single Colonial River Deluxe Room

Day 4 Saigon: Cai Be Explorer

This morning you will be driven to Cai Be Village in the Mekong Delta approximately 2 ½ hours away. To begin with, you will board a private boat to explore Cai Be Floating Market where you will cruise the narrow shady waterways to see local families making popped rice (a favorite of the team!), coconut candies, rice paper… and various local homemade Vietnamese products from the Mekong area. Sample as you go, but remember to leave some room for lunch. Continue on your boat journey before stepping ashore for lunch in a beautiful traditional garden house and be presented with local dishes, such as Elephant Ear Fish rolled and wrapped with rice paper, as well as different Vietnamese vegetables and fruits served with tamarind dipping sauce. When ready you will be taken for a short walk through the fruit gardens and rowed along the narrow shady canals in a traditional sampan boat. Transfer by boat back to your private transport waiting for you in Cai Be. Relax on your way back to Saigon for your evening at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Majestic Saigon Hotel – 1 Double Colonial River Deluxe Room

Day 5 Hoi An: Wander the Ancient Town

You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight – Vietnam Airlines VN108 departing Saigon at 09:00 & arriving in Danang at 10:20. Your guide will meet you at Danang airport for your private transfer to your hotel in Hoi An for check-in.

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a walking tour of Hoi An. Visit the Ancient Town, which is home to the beautiful Chua Cau, or roofed bridge, as well as Hoi Quan, the ancient meeting places, some ancestral family homes and some of the lovely hidden pagodas. You will end your time in the Ancient Town with a meal at a local restaurant.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Boutique Hoi An Resort – 1 Double Deluxe Room

Day 6 Hoi An: Cam Kim Island Bike Ride

Your guide will transfer you to the rendezvous point for your bike ride. After setting up your bicycle, catch a private 30 minute boat cruise over to Cam Kim Island. You will hop off at a secluded point to start your unique bike experience. Along the way you will meet the families that produce traditional crafts such as ornate furniture, coracles and sleeping mats. If you wish, you will have the chance to experience a short ride in a coracle basket boat made of bamboo on one of the small canals on the island. With your guide, follow the winding paths in and out of the country hamlets before heading back to the local ferry point for a different 15 minute boat ride back to Hoi An mainland.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Boutique Hoi An Resort – 1 Double Deluxe Room

Day 7 Hoi An: Trip to My Son and Tra Que Village Lunch

Your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel at 8:30am and you will set off to My Son, a fascinating archeological site with ruinous temples featuring both Hindu and Buddhist influences. Walk through the beautiful park where a stream flows through the center and various temples dot the landscape. Your guide will explain many of the temples and point out interesting features. When you are ready, return to your transport and head to a local family’s home in Tra Que Village and have some lunch. Here you will enjoy traditional Hoi An delicacies made by the family. Your guide is happy to act as a translator if you have any questions. Take a walk around the village and see how the local Vietnamese live today.

From here you will drive to Hue pas the spectacular scenery of central Vietnam. Arrive in Hue and check in to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa – 1 Double Deluxe Room

Day 8 Hue to Dong Hoi: Tour of the Citadel and DMZ

Your guide will meet you at 8am at your hotel. With your guide you will explore the old capital city, now a well-known World Cultural Heritage Site. Often referred to as ‘ancient’, Hue’s Citadel is comparatively modern in European terms. Built over thirty years in the early part of the 19th century, the Citadel encompasses three ‘courts’ covering a total of 6km. The Imperial City, built along the same lines as the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, was the country’s administrative center. Senior mandarins, court officers and civil servants would have entered by the ‘Ngo Mon’ (noon gate). Directly behind were the Dai Trieu Nghi (great rites courtyard) and the Thai Hoa Palace (throne hall) where the Emperor would meet foreign rulers and emissaries, high-ranking ministers and other dignitaries. At the heart of the Imperial City was the ‘Tu Cam Thanh’ (Forbidden Purple City). Only members of the royal family, the Emperor’s concubines, and trusted senior mandarins and officers such as the royal doctor were allowed through the sole entry gate. Inside were various palaces and the Emperor’s private apartments. Despite more than fifty years of decay and attrition, the Citadel is still imposing, and recent renovation work has restored several of its buildings to their previous glory. From here you will head north toward Dong Hoi, stopping for lunch along the way. As you drive, you will pass through the infamous DMZ, where some of the bloodiest battles were fought during the Vietnam/American War. Time permitting; you may stop to take a fascinating tour of the Vinh Moc Tunnels kept as a monument to the determination of the Vietnamese to continue living in their traditional village areas. Whole villages moved underground and lived in these tunnels and caverns. Visit a small church showing the signs of mortar attack in the area and visit US bases kept as museums containing photographs and memorials of the war. Cross the Ben Hai River, used to demarcate the division between North and South Vietnam. You will arrive in Dong Hoi around 6pm and will check into your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Sun Spa Resort – 1 Double Deluxe Ocean View Room

Day 9 Hang En Cave Adventure: Day 1

Meet your guide at your hotel this morning to begin the first day of your amazing cave adventure to one of the largest and most spectacular caverns in the world. With the other members of your caving group you’ll drive for around an hour and a half to the start point of your trek. The walk will begin with a 2 hour descent to the remote mountain village of Ban Doong, where a minority tribe consisting of only 42 people will welcome you and where you’ll have a picnic lunch by the river. After your meal continue walking along the impressive Rao Thuong River Valley, to the entrance of Hang En cave. Recently featured in National Geographic Hang En Cave is an incredible feat of nature, over 120m high and 110m wide and will be your home for the night! Explore the massive cave then make your way to your campsite which will be set up on a sandy beach inside the cavern itself, but near enough to the massive Hang En Exit to be able to gaze up at the stars as you enjoy your BBQ dinner. Your guide will entertain you with stories of the local people and their culture while you eat, while swifts and maybe even a flying fox dart overhead.

Please note: All trekking and camping gear will be provided including helmet, trekking boots (sizes 38-46), headlight, life jacket, tent and sleeping bag. Porters will carry the camping gear while you will just carry a day bag with your spare clothes, camera and water.

Overnight in a tent

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Hang En Cave Adventure: Day 2

After breakfast this morning further explore the cave with your guide, who will take you to a viewpoint high above your camp site and show you 300 million year old fossils. Leaving the cave, trek back along the river valley to Ban Doong village where you will again enjoy a packed lunch and a short tour of the surrounding area. Trek back up the hill to the road where you will be welcomed with a cold drink before climbing into your vehicle for the hour and half drive back to your hotel.

Please note: This trek, particularly the climb up to the road on Day 2, is challenging and should not be attempted by first time trekkers.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Sun Spa Resort – 1 Double Deluxe Ocean View Room

Day 11 Dong Hoi to Hanoi: Arrival, City Tour, Water Puppet Show, and Vietnamese Dinner

Your guide will go with you for the journey to Dong Hoi airport for your flight connection – Vietnam Airlines VN1590 departing Dong Hoi at 08:55 & arriving at 10:15 in Hanoi. Arrive at Noi Bai airport where you will be met by your guide and driven the 1 hour journey to Hanoi.

Begin your half day by discussing with your guide what you would like to do and see. There are so many options that we like to leave it up to you and your guide to decide what suits you best. Some interesting highlights that you may want to consider are the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his House on stilts, One Pillar Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, and Tran Quoc Pagoda, the Ethnology Museum, and the Art museum.

Attend a water puppet show to experience a truly traditional Vietnamese evening.

Enjoy a relaxing meal sampling the delicious cuisine of Vietnam. Your guide will be on hand to transfer you to and from the restaurant, and to help you select your meal.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Hanoi Essence D’ Orient Hotel – 1 Double Deluxe City View Room

Day 12 Hanoi: Exploring the Outskirts by Bicycle

You will leave the city noise behind this morning as you meet your guide and set out into Hanoi’s countryside on this easy 20km route. Take the scenic option out of the city’s Old Quarter and into the countryside where you will pass Long Bien Bridge which was built by a famous Eiffel construction company at the beginning of the 20th Century. Your first stop will be the oldest Bat Trang Pottery Village in Northern Vietnam, where you will get a chance to learn about their traditional handicraft. Climb back on the bike to continue exploring the area, passing small temples, and learning more about the religion in this area. Discover the luxury living area of a Hanoian, where you will see lovely villages and homes surrounding by flowers and trees. Head back into Hanoi for a refreshing lunch, after which you will discover the beauty of the back roads as you cycle along the banks of the Red River. Enjoy the beauty of rural life as your guide describes traditional activities before stopping at a local Bonsai garden. Stop off at a local home where you can enjoy a cup of tea and some refreshing fresh fruits with the owner. Continue cycling through the relaxing banana and vegetable farming area in the middle of the Red River Island. Your last stop will be Quang Ba, another traditional pottery village where you will see how the ceramics are transported to stores in Hanoi. Keep your eyes open on the cycle back for colorful fields of flowers — you may even spot local growers picking the brightest buds to take to city shops! Continue cycling on the back road along the river to get back to the bike shop in Hanoi. Your guide will assist you to get a taxi back to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Hanoi Essence D’ Orient Hotel – 1 Double Deluxe City View Room

Day 13 Halong Bay Day 1: Halong City to Bai Tu Long Bay and Thien Canh Son Cave

Today your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8am. You will leave bustling Hanoi behind as you are driven to Halong City and wonderful Ha Long Bay. Your journey will take around 3 ½ hours through the historical countryside of the Red River Delta which is peppered with hundred-year-old villages.

Arrive at Ha Long City by midday where you will transfer to the pier to board your junk. Enjoy a welcome drink before relaxing with a fresh seafood lunch, while cruising in the magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay (the peaceful northern part of Halong Bay, commonly overlooked by most visitors). Take in the breathtaking serenity of your surroundings. Mid-afternoon you can jump in for a quick swim in the crystal clear waters before your visit to Thien Can Son Cave. A short cruise further will bring you to Hon Co Island where you can spend the late afternoon swimming, kayaking, or simply relaxing on the white sandy beach. You will finish the day on board with dinner around 7pm followed by time to relax and reflect on your day.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Dragon’s Pearl Junk Cruises – 1 Double Cabin, Joined Trip

Day 14 Halong Bay Day 2: Vung Vieng Fishing Village to Halong City and Departure

Today’s early start with breakfast around 7:30am is a wonderful opportunity to admire the bay waking up around you. An hour later you will be taken in a traditional rowboat to meet the local people who call Vung Vieng fishing village their home. Learn all about their daily life, the floating school and fish farms. Enjoy your lunch as you cruise back to Hon Gai Harbor to disembark at the pier around midday.

Your guide will meet you as you disembark and will transfer you back to Hanoi. Along the way you will have the opportunity to take a comfort break and stretch your legs. You will arrive at Noi Bai airport in time to connect with your flight.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Tour Rate: $4,110 per person based on 2 people traveling, with a single supplement of $2,840.

Price includes:

  • Air tickets Saigon – Danang / Dong Hoi – Hanoi
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips

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